KUCHING: You know the Kuching Marathon is coming soon when even the cat statue at Padungan Street is wearing its running attire, complete with jersey, bib and headband.
Kuching City South Council (MBKS) staff and Kuching Marathon volunteers yesterday dressed up the famous cat statue, which will be along the 21km and 42km routes this Sunday.
Mayor Datuk James Chan said he could not be more excited about the second annual marathon, which has attracted more than 7,500 participants so far. Organisers said only the 5km category remained open for registration, with the others full.
“This is just great. Kuching wants to be known as a healthy city. Look, I’m so happy even this cat of ours is running. Its bib says ‘MBKS 1’ and the cat signed up after eating too much at the Kuching Festival Food Fair. We need to stay healthy,” Chan joked during a promo for the marathon.
“Kuching Marathon 2015 will be equivalent to the New York and London runs,” he enthused.
Last year’s marathon was the first held in Sarawak since 1991.
The first 42km run ever organised in the state was in 1987, attracting about 500 runners. Although marathons gained in popularity – the 1991 event had about 4,000 runners – it was not until last year when it was revived. About 5,500 took part in the 2014 event.
For this Sunday’s run, all the race routes begin and end at Padang Merdeka here, with the 42km category starting the earliest at 3am. Cash prizes total RM125,000.
In last year’s event, by the time the later races began at 6am and 7am, the winners for the full marathon runners had already returned.
Runners from Kenya scooped all top prizes. In the male 42km category, Cherop Ezekiel Cherop took first place, with a time of two hours and 22 minutes, and in the women’s 42km category, Ruth Chemisto Matebo won, clocking a time of two hours, 54 minutes.
Statistics from last year showed about 2,000 of the 5,500 runners were foreigners, with Brunei, Singapore and Britain making up most of the participants from overseas.
Most of the runners were between 20 and 30 years old (35%), and between 31 and 40 (31%). There were also nine runners above 70 years old (the oldest was 77 from Kuala Lumpur) and the youngest was 12 from here.
For more information, visit marathonkuching.com.